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Birmingham recount leaves Haig as commissioner

By Lisa Brody

Following an election recount conducted by the Oakland County Elections Division on Tuesday, November 30, requested by Anthony Long, a candidate in the recent Birmingham city commission election, it was determined that the results only changed by one vote – with fellow candidate and now commissioner Andrew Haig winning by five, instead of six, votes.

Seven candidates had run to fill three open seats on the seven member Birmingham City Commission on Tuesday, November 2. Katie Schafer, Elaine McLain and Andrew Haig were the top vote getters, and were sworn into office at the commission meeting on Monday, November 8. Long had filed for a recount after losing by just six votes to Haig. Haig received 2,340 votes, or 16.96 percent of votes cast, while Long received 2,334 votes, for 16.92 percent of the vote.

According to Joe Rozell, Oakland County Director of Elections, a recount by 10 workers from the county and four members of the Oakland County Board of Canvassers of all the absentee ballots and ballots cast at nine precincts showed the final tally change by one vote in favor of Long – which was not enough to alter the results of the election. There were 4,511 absentee ballots certified and about 1,500 in-person ballots cast.

“This makes it official. It's a five-vote difference and that's that,” Rozell said.

“The election recount was completed this afternoon, and results show that I was just five votes short of winning a seat on the Birmingham City Commission. I fully trust the process and accept the results of the recount,” Long said.

He thanked Birmingham Clerk Alex Bingham, the county election division and the board of canvassers for their professionalism, as well as Birmingham residents who supported him.

“Finally, I want to congratulate Andrew Haig for a hard-fought race and wish him success in representing the residents of Birmingham.”

When reached for comment, Haig said: "It was definitely a very competitive race for all of us. We all worked very hard.I feel as though the message broke through with voters, for the neighborhoods to get more attention, to be more of a priority...The voters said the neighborhoods do not have enough of a voice. I'm looking forward to supporting everyone."

The recount took approximately two and one half hours, with results official immediately. Rozell said recounts occur most often in August primary elections or odd-year November elections than any other time, with one to two recounts conducted on any even year, or typically one on an odd-year with a close election.

“The new digital screening equipment is extremely accurate,” Rozell said, noting it is much rarer to have discrepancies in counts.


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